Heart of the AI
Image from Keith Wigdor

Clarketech is any form of transapientech or godtech that can be used by modosophonts in some useful way, a way that may or may not be related to its originally intended purpose. However this technology cannot be replicated by modosophonts though it may be self-replicating and the exact method of operation is not known for certain even though its modosophont users may have reasonable-sounding hypotheses on the subject.

The broadest definition of clarketech is technology which can be used by entities of a lower toposophic level, but not understood by them. It is rumoured that the most powerful clarketech devices cannot be used by modosophonts, but need a transapient or low level archai to control them, but such things cannot be reliably confirmed.

Clarketech is generally created or left behind by transapients and archailects, or — much more rarely — left by alien civilizations. Locations which have been abandoned after a period of occupancy by advanced entities may or may not yield items of this kind; on the other hand clarketech artifacts are discovered drifting in deep space. Often clarketech takes the form of a relatively small artifact, with a control interface that adapts itself to the user; sometimes the control interface is more challenging, and may take the form of a series of mental or practical challenges. Rare examples of very large clarketech devices are occasionally discovered.

Because it has properties that cannot be replicated by modosophont technology, clarketech is greatly valued by Terragen civilizations. But like most artifacts, clarketech eventually wears out. For this reason, adventurers and entrepreneurs known as Clarkers are always on the lookout for any new discoveries of clarketech, and countless fortunes have been made and lost in the search for this galactic grail.

The name originated from a famous saying by Arthur C. Clarke, an late Industrial Age to and Early Information Age fabulist:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlevamended by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 25 November 2009.